When you’re first starting out in business, your budget may not be the biggest, and even if you have got wads of cash to spend, you need to be conservative. Traditionally, advertising a business has often been expensive. However, the digital world has opened up a whole new avenue for those who want to promote their business without spending hundreds of euros. Before the internet came along, the only way to market on the cheap was to print loads of fliers or sponsor a local event. Nowadays, there are many different ways you can promote your business. Many of which don’t cost a cent.
First Step – Create Your Own Website
If you haven’t done this yet then what have you been doing for the last few years? The worldwide web is truly the only way to move forward in today’s business world. A good, professional and informative website is vital if you want to keep up with the competition. If you want to save money, it is possible to build one yourself. Online website building software has made it easy for the novice to create an attractive website and it doesn’t require a college degree. However, if your budget will allow, hire a professional website builder like this company.
Social Media Serves Many Purposes
The main social media channels are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They are good for more than posting selfies or what you’ve just had for dinner. For the small business owner, they are a tool that can be used to increase your exposure and much more. If you want to be successful, you need to invest some time in making the most of these marketing channels. Best of all, they don’t cost a cent if you don’t want them to. Create a Facebook page and tie in ads and special offers. Connect with your customers using Twitter. Another social media channel that is becoming more popular is LinkedIn. As well as helping you on a personal level it can also benefit your business.
Write a Blog
This is something you might be a bit shy about doing to begin with, but for many, it soon becomes a regular part of their business routine. With a blog, you can get your company name out there and connect with your customers more directly. If you think you may struggle to keep it updated regularly, it’s not worth the bother. A blog that seems to have been abandoned is worth nothing at all. You don’t have to be a budding Shakespeare to write a blog. There are plenty of resources online to give you a few ideas.
Use Local Listings Services
Registering your business with the main search engines is possible. We don’t need to name them as you must know who they are. Registering means your business can be found easily and show up on the search engine maps. The process is very simple and just requires the completion of an online form. Your business listing will then be verified via a confirmation process. It’s another marketing channel that’s completely free and only takes a few minutes of your time.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimization is a service that can be provided by a professional company, but it is also something you can do for yourself. As soon as your new website is published you’ve already made an important first step. SEO is all about helping the search engine spiders find your site and rank it so that it appears on the first page of a search engines results. Research has shown that customers very rarely scroll past the first page when looking for information. Therefore, it stands to reason that the first page is the best place to be. It’s not something that can be done just once, and you’ll stay there. It is a process that requires regular maintenance, fine-tuning, testing, and monitoring.
YouTube and Flickr
YouTube is great for more than watching music videos or laughing at the many, many cat videos. However, it is also a great place to distribute promotional videos. You will have to put up videos that people want to see, and they also have to be relevant to your business. If it’s just an ad, it won’t work. If you’re a retailer, you might want to review some of the products you sell. If you’re a plumber, for example, you might want to post some helpful tips for people with plumbing issues. Flickr is a service for sharing photos. You create a profile for your business and compile business-related photos. This profile can then link back to your website.
These have become very popular, and whatever your business entails, you can bet there is a relevant online community for you to get involved in. The idea is not to simply promote your business. It may well annoy other forum members and result in your account being suspended. The idea is to contribute to the forum positively and build up a rapport with other members. The only mention of your business should be a link in your signature, for example.
Asking customers for reviews is one way to promote your business. Another way is to ask satisfied customers to make referrals. It doesn’t take a lot on your part. All you need to do is pick the right moment and ask in the right way. You could add a short sentence at the end of an email asking customers to mention your name.
In the marketing world, there are tactics which are going to work and others that will flop. There is no hard and fast rule as to what these are either. Sometimes, one approach will work better and at other times it will be a miserable failure. The important thing is to try lots of angles and find which works best for you and your business. Don’t be too quick to drop an idea you don’t think is working. Sometimes results can take time.